Five orchid mistakes you should avoid making

Alan Titchmarsh details method for keeping orchids flowering

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According to plant experts at Baby Bio®, orchids have “specific requirements” when it comes to caring for them, so treating them “carefully” is a must. From feeding to their environment, orchid houseplants can be fussy and so making mistakes is very common. However, to enable the plant to thrive, there are some common mistakes to avoid making.

1. Not giving them the right environment

Baby Bio® experts explained: “The key to orchid care is all in the environment. In their natural habitat, orchids are mainly either epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees, or lithophytic, meaning they grow on rocks.”

This can be hard to recreate at home and so many people tend not to try. However, it isn’t impossible and owners should always make sure they are potted in bark-based orchid compost.

This helps to promote aeration and drainage to prevent the plant from becoming waterlogged, which it can be susceptible to.

The plant experts added: “Orchids get most of their moisture from the air and therefore prefer high humidity, so mist the foliage and aerial roots daily or place the plant next to a tray of wet pebbles to increase air humidity.”

2. Not misting

Another easy way to mimic their humid home is by misting them with a spray bottle, and this can help orchids throughout the winter months.

This is because inside air is usually dry when the weather is cold due to heating being turned on. To mist a houseplant, simply place some tepid water into a bottle and spray all sides of the plant until the leaves are covered with a fine mist.

Misting can also help to prevent overwatering which is a huge problem when it comes to houseplant care.

3. Putting them in rooms which aren’t humid

There are certain rooms in the home which are naturally more humid than others, including the bathroom and kitchen.

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However, many people opt to place orchids in the living room or dining room where they can see it on display, but this is a huge mistake.

Baby Bio® recommended placing them in humid rooms whilst also making sure they are not in the direction of strong sunlight.

The ideal spot for growing orchids is either south or east-facing windows where they can receive indirect light. During the colder months of the year, place it away from heat sources and draughts.

4. Not fertilising them

It is easy to forget to feed houseplants, but with orchids it is extremely important. This is because they need fertilising when both in active growth and dormancy.

Luckily, an orchid can tell you when it needs feeding and when it doesn’t. According to Gardening Know How, they should be fertilised at least once a month but maybe more during the growing season.

If you notice your plant is wilting, it may be because you have given it too much feed. The gardening experts said this is a common problem with plants which have low light conditions.

To help it thrive again, move it to a brighter location and apply less fertiliser. Wilting orchids are also a sign of overwatering so make sure they are fully draining before watering them again.

5. Not pruning them

While many may think pruning is a job for garden plants, it can benefit houseplants in a number of ways too. It can not only help them last longer, but it can encourage them to re-bloom.

Baby Bio® pros said: “Once your plant’s flowers have fallen, you can encourage it to re-bloom the following season by pruning the whole flower stem and continuing to care for it as usual while it lies dormant.”

It is important to trim away any dead leaves, tissue or roots, being sure to cut diagonally. 

For unhealthy brown spikes, cut all the way back to the base of the plant, otherwise trim one inch above the node.

The experts added: “Remember, there are many species of orchid, so each should be treated according to its requirements. We recommend the phalaenopsis moth orchid variety for beginners.”

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